FIRST TIME EVER: REPUBLIC DAY SCHOOL PARADE

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The fervor of patriotism was quite evident at the 69th Republic Day celebrations of Vikhe Patil Memorial School, Pune. The Chief Guests for the occasion were Major General A K Mudholkar and Major General Shishir Mahajan. Dr. Ashok Vikhe Patil, Chairman, Dr. Manoj Narwade Trustee and Secretary, Ms. Nandini, Director, Schools’ Programme and Joint Secretary, Dr. Vikhe Patil Foundation and Ms. Mrinalini Bhosale, Principal VPMS, Pune graced the occasion. 

The programme began by the unfurling of the National Flag by the Chief Guest, Maj.Gen Shishir Mahajan followed by the salute and the national anthem. The students of the primary section sang a beautiful prayer song invoking the grace to the gods to keep every part of our country and its cultural ethos and heritage intact.  This was followed by a very motivating speech given by Charuta Chavan from PCMRD, the Management & RD arm of the foundation. 

The students of Std. III-VI, a record breaking choir of 444 harmonious singers, presented a patriotic song in Hindi voicing the strength to weather all the storms and challenges could be thrown at a nation and how the beautiful land of India was a blessed one. The Chief Guest Major General A K Mudholkar, in his speech quoted our freedom fighters and drew parallels of how they were apt in those times and apt even today. The finale was an instrumental rendition of Vande Mataram on the sitar, pianica, drums, guitar and the violin.

Thereafter, in an unprecedented and unparalleled move VPMS took up a novel initiative of organizing a Republic Day ‘Processional Parade’. The dignitaries flagged off four floats representing four states; Maharashtra, Jammu & Kashmir, West Bengal and Kerala, each depicting the four core values of the school; respect, empathy, gender sensitivity and democracy. All the students carried banners of the core values with catchy messages and quotes.  In the forefront were the dhol tasha and lajhim pathak of the Maharashtra float that displayed great personalities like Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj, Savitribai Phule, Bal Gangadhar Tilak and Dr. Vithhal Rao Vikhe Patil. It was followed by the Palkhi and the warkaris dancing to the chants of ‘Gyanba Tukaram’.

Next in line the students clad in beautiful Kashmiri attire, seated in a shikara depicted the picturesque float of Jammu & Kashmir. It also comprised a Kashmiri dance. The West Bengal float was a creative display of Shantiniketan, Howrah Bridge and great personalities like Swami Vivekananda, Mother Teresa, Raja Ram Mohan Roy, Rabindranath Tagore and Subhash Chandra Bose. The Kerala float depicted various dances, boat races, Ayurveda and the martial art-kalaripayattu. Each float was an elaborate display of the beautiful landscapes of the particular state and all students on the float were dressed in authentic traditional wear. A narration about the states, their food, culture, traditions and geographical conditions was played in the background for each float. It gave a concise glimpse of that particular state to the onlookers and passersby.  A street play on the topic ‘Environmental Sensitivity and Need for Cleanliness’ was performed at three strategic locations to create awareness. The route of the parade was chalked out well beforehand.

The floats flagged off from the school went through SB Road, BMCC Road-FC Road-Model Colony joining SB Road and back to school. The school received a lot of appreciation from all sectors for being the first to organize and execute the Republic Day celebrations in such an unconventional way. The representatives of the School Management, Staff, parents and students were seen walking with the resplendent floats. It was indeed a sight to see all the stakeholders in the field of education of this organization work together to bring about an extraordinary event to the public eye. In a scenario where usually all stakeholders might not see eye to eye on issues regarding education, Vikhe Patil Memorial School brings to the fore that when we work together for the well being and keeping the interests of the children as a prime focus, nothing is impossible. 

In today’s era when we see the spirit of patriotism frizzle out in seconds, the celebration proved to be a lifelong learning experience for all the students, parents, staff with the floats and the spectators along the streets. The parade, a miniature representation of the Republic Day celebration, which happens in the capital, sent across a strong message of unity in diversity and went hand in hand with the motto of the school ‘Making Life Meaningful’.

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